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Amazon reportedly used a secret algorithm to jack up prices

Illustration of Amazon’s logo on a black, orange, and tan background.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon deployed a secret algorithm to gauge how high it could raise prices before its competitors stopped increasing their prices as well, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal Tuesday.

The existence of the algorithm, codenamed Project Nessie, was first revealed late last month in a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission accusing the e-commerce giant of violating US antitrust law. The FTC’s public complaint alluded to Project Nessie, but the section was heavily redacted. According to the Journal, Nessie would inflate prices and monitor whether other retailers, like Target, would follow suit. If the competing retailers maintained the lower price, the algorithm would automatically revert Amazon’s to its normal…

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